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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  May 15, 2013 3:00am-6:01am PDT

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the warren g. harding administration. the bribery scandal before watergate. it was the biggest political scandal in our country's history. who doesn't know that, john? >> obama is being compared to president nixon. how does he feel about that? >> again, i don't have a reaction from president obama. i can tell you that people who make those kind of comparisons need to check their history. >> welcome to "morning joe." it is may 15th, as you take a beautiful look at new york city. with us on set, steve rattner, mike barnicle, willie geist and in d.c., we have lisa myers, kelly o'donnell, david ignatius and unbelievable amount of news to cover this morning.
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i wish they would give us, mika, more than three hours because it's never in your. >> we're good. >> i'm not good. i don't even get started in three hours! >> i know. >> you look at the lead editorial in "the new york times." they talk about the obama administration's chilling zeal to shut down leaks inside the white house, another jay carney press conference yesterday, more awkwardness. so much going on. before we get to all of that, we had chris christie last night in princeton with us at one of your book signings. this guy he was talking about his weight and a little uppety. the guy loses 40 pounds or so and suddenly he thinks he is -- i don't know who he thinks he is. >> he was tough on you. >> robert redford. >> you were talking politics. it was fun. it was a great crowd. >> we were talking about white house scandals. he was talking about the windsors as in prince harry. he thinks he and prince harry
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are best friends now. i'm a little concerned. they chumed aroumed around on t jersey shore. you were on "katie" yesterday. >> it was fun. she dedicated the whole hour to the issue. very busy day for sure. shall we get to the news? >> yeah, let's get to the news. much busier in the news. let's go through everything that happened yesterday. the irs. attorney general eric holder is ordering a criminal investigation into the irs' targeting of conservative groups. this after an internal government watchdog blamed ineffective management for the scandal. a report by the treasures inspector general concluded that the cincinnati office of the irs used inappropriate criteria to single out tea party groups adding that there was insufficient oversight by management. the report also revealed that some applications for nonprofit
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status were delayed, some for as long as three years. a "usa today" analysis found that during the same time, the irs approved dozens of liberal groups for the same applications. last night, president obama said in a statement, the reports findings are intolerable and inexcusable, promising to follow through on the inspector general's recommendations. the white house has denied any role in the irs scandal but republicans say the administration can't be trusted. >> what we don't know at this point is whether it jumped the fence from the irs to the white house. but we do know this, we can't count on the administration to be forthcoming about the details of this scandal because, so far, they have been anything but. >> but the criticism isn't just from republicans. former white house press secretary robert gibbs says the president mishandled his
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response. >> the tenor of this briefing would be different if the president had spoken about this on saturday or sunday and not on monday. and if the president had spoken on monday, less about losing patience for this which is what i do with my 9-year-old and used far more vivid language and i think, quite frankly, come out and announced there would be a commission made up of a former -- two former irs commissioners, democrat, one appointed by a democrat and one by a republican and say, look. the irs is going to deal with how to deal with 501c4s based on what the administration is or isn't and that is always going to be the case. >> politico has a story this morning, lisa myers, how washington is turning against barack obama. we heard what robert gibbs said which i think was fairly stunning about his former
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employer and chairman cummings on the hill being very critical. you're hearing criticism from all sides and now we are hearing criticism about eric holder launching a criminal investigation and maybe it should be more independent. what -- tell me the outlines of that investigation and what we can expect from it. >> well, the attorney general has asked the fbi to look into whether any laws were broken. there are laws about taxpayer privacy and there are laws about abuse of power and misusing the irs. i mean, the report that came out yesterday was a good start but a lot of reason to believe we still don't know the full story. the i.g. blamed basically on this office in cincinnati but, in fact, the paper trail and conversations i've had show that folks in washington and elsewhere in the country clearly also were involved. the time line that the i.g. put out doesn't completely work because some of these invasive letters were going to conservative groups as late as last fall.
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and the other thing is the i.g. basically cast this as a bureaucrat snafu, a short cut they took to try to deal with a huge case load. but if you're trying to reduce the amount of work you have to do, why would you keep putting out these letters that generate hundreds, if not thousands, of pages in responses. it just doesn't quite add up. >> yeah. david ignatius, it doesn't seem to add up. a bureaucrat snafu it seems to be more than that. what are you looking for in the coming days and weeks and what are you looking for out of this investigation? >> the irs scandal really is a case of, as the president said, intolerable behavior. the thing we most fear in our country and harkens back to watergate. what i'm looking for is some direction from higher level officials to search for these
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conservative groups to search for the words tea party, patriot, 912. it's unbelievable. we the people. those were the search terms that were put in. we do know that there was political pressure on the irs, members of congress writing letters in 2011 and 2012, urging that right wing groups that might be receiving money and being used as vehicles for election of finance be investigated. that was a theme that you can document. there were also protests in early last year, very public protests from tea party groups that said they were being harassed. not as if this is brand-new. what is striking is that it was allowed to continue without surfacing in a major way as it has in the last week. >> willie? >> a lot of people have speculated the last few days this was used as lisa say a way to filter out all kinds of groups that didn't meet the
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criteria for a social welfare group for 501c4 but this shows it was only for conservative groups from february 2010 to june of 2012, zero. zero tax exempt status and giving conservative groups and groups with progress and progressive were given tax exempt status so this one-sided. kelly o'donnell, i go to you. i know ways and means hearings coming up on friday. what do you expect to hear from those? >> a lot of anger and frustration from members of congress who feel they have been lied to in repeated attempts to get information from the irs. many have told me they send letter after letter that was either responded to with smo substantive answer or not responded to at all or information they got was, in fact, not in line with the facts. there is a sense of vindication perhaps that complaints that they have made that have gone sort of in the wind and not particularly seriously taken by
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the administration now have resonated in a way that we expect very tough questioning of steve miller who is the acting commissioner and much more investigation. part of what this will be do is empower congress to use its authority for oversight which many people think of congress only as passing bills and sometimes, you know, railing in front of a camera, but part of their function is government oversight, so look for examples where other branches or agencies within the government are not functioning properly. so this gives a green light to all of those who want to look more deeply. part of what you see in this is that it is a pattern that went on for quite a long time. there was each in the report discussion of the fact that people who worked for the irs tasked with doing this screening weren't even aware of what the groups that they were seeking this application for, what the law permitted them to do. there was confusion about what they were even allowed to do. and that put on hold for nearly a year any progress. so this was slow.
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it was sloppy. the irs says it was not political. that it was poor management. many people on hill don't accept that. >> steve rattner, an extraordinary editorial in the newspaper that you wrote for quite some time, "the new york times" spying on the associated press. the beginning of the editorial as i said at the top of the show said the obama administration had a chilling zeal for investigating reporters at the end of "the new york times" op-ed, just a stunning conclusion. these tactics will not scare us off or the a.p., but they could reveal sources in other stories and frighten confidential contacts vital to coverage of government. they will not scare us off, i don't know that i've heard "the
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new york times" deliver such a line to any -- any president in quite some time. >> well, i think "the new york times" does take a very hard line on protecting its reporters. it's famously fought several major cases to protect its reporters. >> sure. i mean, if you're barack obama and this is a paper you read every day and we are told that and you're a progressive president, and the lead edit editorial in the times says "you will not scare us off," we have come to a pretty extraordinary moment in this administration, have we not? >> we have come to an extraordinary moment and one of those moments. i was a reporter for "the new york times" during the latter part of watergate and have seen this in action where you end up with two parts -- two groups that are even more divided than usual. the press which is innately questioning suspicious and what is cynical of what goes on in government and government which
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feels the press is simply nosing around and things it has no business doing like this particular issue and you end up with a far more polarized group of people that are even further at odds. certainly a lack of trust and a lack of any kind of feelings between these two groups at this moment. the latest on the justice department seizure of phone records. u.s. attorney general eric holder is defending the use of secret subpoenas saying the department's actions are critical to national security. nbc justice correspondent pete williams reports. >> reporter: the justice department insisted that it acted because american lives were at risk and tracked the phone calls of a.p. reporters and editors because it had no options left to find out who in the government was the source for an a.p. story about a highly classified effort a year ago to foil a terror plot. >> officials are telling us the cia thwarted a plot by an al qaeda branch in yemen to detonate a bound on a u.s.-bound
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jetliner. >> reporter: the a.p. says the government obtained logs of calls of more than 20 phone lines last april and may including some home and cell numbers and the general switchboard lines of its offices in new york, washington, and hartford, connecticut. >> more than a hundred journalists for the a.p. work at the places whose phone numbers and phone records were -- were seized by the justice department. >> reporter: attorney general eric holder said that he was not involved in the decision to get the phone logs, having taken himself off the lead case last year to avoid the appearance of a conflict because he knew about the classified operation before it became public. but he said he is confident the rules were followed in pursuing what he called one of the most serious leaks he has ever seen. >> put the american people at risk and that is not hyperbole and trying to determine who is responsible for that i think required aggressive action. >> reporter: the deputy attorney general james cole who did proof getting the phone records said
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in a letter the last resort after investigators did more than 550 interviews and reviewed tens of thousands of documents. but first amendment advocates say it could chill the ability of learning about wrong doing. >> the taxpayer citizens we need the information that whistle-blowers provide and crack down on them like this is to send a child throughout the government to anybody who might want to come forward. >> reporter: a couple of points about this. first of all, there is no reason to think at this point that the phone records of other news organizations were involved or were obtained. secondly the government did not listen in on these calls. it got the records after the calls were made. who in the government leaked this information, no one has been charged with that. for "morning joe," i'm pete williams, nbc, new york. let's go to david ignatius on this. i'm accuser who has been a reporter in washington a long time how unusual this is and how outrageous you find this particular case as opposed to to others we have had heard about
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over the years. >> as a sign of how this effects the real world of journalism, i got an e-mail last night from an former intelligence source who said i hope you're using nokia burner fons that you throw away after a month. this case shows how vulnerable phone records are. what is interesting to me about this case is in its zeal for prosecuting leaks and this administration has been strangely because it's a liberal administration in many ways, especially zealous in that prosecution, the administration has overridden in some cases, in particular in this case, its own guidelines for how reporters' material should be subpoenaed if people feel they are needed. there is an elaborate multiparagraph set of guidance the justice department attorneys are supposed to follow. i defy anyone to go through that list of rules and say that it's
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likely that the man who made this decision, the deputy attorney general, followed all of them and narrowed his request. these are 20 phone lines used by a hundred reporters for all kinds of newspaper and personal business. hard to imagine that that was the narrowest way to get it. >> david, what is also stunning is you look at this administration and you talk about being a progressive administration. this administration and so many other democrats on capitol hill and some republicans really were stunned by one leak after another leak during the bush administration. and i think specifically about the 2005 "the washington post" story that i really -- you talk about a threat to national security. i thought that "post" story that revealed an entire cia program was terrible. well, regardless of what i thought or what i didn't think,
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barack obama and others lauded that report and got a pulitzer prize and i think this is what reporters do. i said some very tough words about the reporter. should it have been revealed? but this is how it's usually approached. but what is surprising here for the attorney general to say americans lives were at risk because of a report a foiled plot, it just isn't consistent with what we have seen coming out of reporters for "the washington post" and the "the new york times" and the "the wall street journal" and other newspapers for decades. this is what people like you do. >> it is. it is the job that we do and it has many benefits for public. your viewers should understand what is behind this case. this involved an agent in place within an al qaeda and yemen cell that was conducting terrorist operations against the united states and it's alleged that the story that the a.p. wrote put that agent in place at
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risk and infuriated one of our closest allies who was running the agent, this country was said to have been appalled and so the administration officials on their back feet being accused of having leaked the informatithem think, jumped into this very zealous investigation and the background people should understand. it was not a trivial case they were concerned about. it was a case involving peoples lives. >> mike barnicle, the story i'm talking about back in 2005 revealed all of the allies that were helping us out in our effort to get information from al qaeda terrorists. again, it offended me but i would not have expected the bush administration to seize all of their records. i mean, that is just -- it's just not usually done. >> nor is it usually done when you have the attorney general of the united states using the phrase, as you just indicated, this put american lives at risk.
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lisa, what we do know about the associated press story thus far is that national security was involved. we understand that the attorney general says lives were potentially at risk. american lives were at risk. but he also know that the associated press held the story at the request of the administration' the administration seems to be putting a lot of effort into keeping a good distance from the irs story and the a.p. story from encroaching into the oval office. do we know whether or not the president of the united states knew about this massive electronic blanket, 100 reporters involved, telephones being tapped by the government, do we know when he was told or when he found out about this? >> well, my hunch is that he probably did not know. if this decision truly was made by the u.s. attorney and those directly involved in the case and if the attorney general had, in fact, recused himself, it
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would appear that the president did not know. another thing to keep in mind is that -- >> lisa, let me stop you right there. eric holder said he recused himself but eric holder hasn't come out and said he as the attorney general, wasn't aware of this, has he? >> no, he has not said that specifically. look at this from a political standpoint. you have ben ghazi which the right was up in arms about. then comes the irs which offended the right, the middle, and even in democrats and members of the press. but when they did this, they turned one of the president's most important constituencies, the press and the left against him. so politically what is hard to imagine -- this is a very calculating white house -- it's hard to imagine that they would have green lighted this kind of thing. i think it's more likely that this was something that was handled within the justice department and that if the white
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house was notified, it was after the fact and not before the action was taken. >> of course, mike barnicle, that is going to be the question is so each if the attorney general and the president of the united states did not, in fact, sign off on the decision, i would be very -- i would be shocked if the attorney general didn't know after the decision was being made that the associated press was having their records seized without the associated press' knowledge and to that extent, the white house needs to let us know for their own sake as soon as possible if the president, in fact, did know that those phone records were seized and we need to know what he learned about. >> it raises the obvious issue and certainly not nit-picking by the media to raise this issue. if the attorney general indicates that american lives are at risk and this was a
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criminal element of national security the president ought to have been informed. >> exactly. >> we ought to find that out. kelly on another score, underpinning all of this and criticism now directed at the white house, at the presidency from both sides, from the republicans and the democrats, it leads to the question that the president of the united states has been almost purposely disengaged in a sense from cultivating relationships within the congress. so at this point, do you get a sense that the president of the united states is literally operating here with no net? >> that's an interesting way to describe it, because he has not built the sort of relationships based on both democrats and republicans that we talk to. even recently after playing golf and dining and those things are important parts of building relationships, they are not trivial things. we are still told that there is a distance. i will say that jay carney was asked this question and he said that the president was not aware of this because it was an ongoing investigation and that
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it would not be appropriate for the white house to have any involvement in an ongoing investigation. so with respect to the leaks, the wiretap -- not wiretap, but the records gathering, all of that, jay carney tried to put a lot of distance between the president and the justice department on that. part of what typically also happens here is when a news organization has information at this level, there is cooperation because they are seeking some comment from the government so they inform the government they have this information and that is where you heard the discussion of the ap holding this story for some period of time and that is often a negotiated thing and white houses both democrats and republican. typically, if the justice department wants records, it notifies the news organization in advance. part of what is so striking about this, as far as we understand the a.p. was given no warning and the scope of the record search is so much broader than typically what happened
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when there is an investigation and that is part of what has jolted the journalism community, no chance to have forewarning and the breadth of what they are looking at. >> and, again, mika, this is after the associated press agreed to cooperate with the white house, as news organizations do, when there are national security issues at stake. but to follow-up on mike's question, mika, of course, one of the lead stories in politico this morning is "d.c. turns on obama," and it's not just the republicans. you have high level democrats who are now saying that this is an isolated white house that has offended too many on capitol hill and in the press corps. you have democratic op-eds, democratic leaders and opinion writers criticizing the president, including one powerful chairman on capitol hill who says it's one of the most alarming things he has ever seen. >> that seemingly isolated white house is not just losing d.c. i think headlines like this one could really be damaging and i
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think it might be, if there is a sense of isolations or even arrogance, time for them to think differently in terms of how they handle these things. lisa myers, thank you so much. david and kelly, stay with us. chris matthews will join us host of "hardball." we will alberto gonzales and david axelrod and jimmy connors oop first the forecast with bill karins. the rest of the country is warmed up and everyone else is talking how hot it's been for you but in new england, another cold frigid morning. frost out there as far south as connecticut this morning. it's 33 degrees in hartford. i'd love to tell you it's going to get better but unfortunately clouds and rain showers now moving out of canada through
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buffalo and rochester move your way throughout the day today. so no big warm-up for new england. you really have to be about philadelphia south wards to get into that warm air. bring the umbrella today. philadelphia north wards including most of pennsylvania and new york state but from d.c. southward you're going to be dry and much warmer. 84 in d.c. today. talk about shocking. everyone worrying about the climate and the extremes they are having. never this hot this early in the year in areas of the midwest. it was 106, warmer than phoenix or vegas so far this year, in sioux city, iowa. that is crazy temperatures out there and it snowed in this area two weeks ago! even minneapolis nearly was a hundred degrees yesterday. so as far as the forecast around the country. texas today you also have showers and thunderstorms to watch out for. those are heading for east texas today. if you're in the southeast, bottle this up. what a great stretch of weather you're having. cool mornings and warm, sunny afternoons from atlanta to orlando to tampa.
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enjoy the good stuff while you got it. bring the umbrella with you in new york city. three at least it's slight warmer. you're watching "morning joe," brewed by starbucks. flying is old hat for business travelers. the act of soaring across an ocean in a three-hundred-ton rocket doesn't raise as much as an eyebrow for these veterans of the sky. however, seeing this little beauty over international waters is enough to bring a traveler to tears. we're putting the wonder back into air travel, one innovation at a time. the new american is arriving. when ouwe got a subaru.s born, it's where she said her first word. (little girl) no! saw her first day of school.
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30 past of the hour. time to take a look at the morning headlines. philadelphia inquirer. dr. kermit gosnell spend the rest of his life in prison who was found guilty of murdering three babies in the philly abortion case waived his right to appeal in a deal to avoid the death penalty. >> thousands of military recruiters and sexual prevention officers retrained and rescreened with another sex crime scandal in the army.
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soldier in question was responsible for handling sexual assault cases at ft. hood in it texas. >> good lord. a reuters report says the food and drug administration has improved label changes incorporating lower dosages for sleep medications such as amb e the fda now recommends doses of 5 milligrams for women. oops. okay. and 5 to 10 milligrams for men. "usa today" today last year airlines in the united states earned a record 3.5 billion in fees for checked luggage. 3.5 billion. airlines began charging these fees in 2008 to counteract rising fuel costs but since then some airlines have added fees
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for food and extra leg room. last year, carriers earned $2 billion by charging fees for changing a reservation. >> and clean up the plane before you leave! >> exactly. the "los angeles times." "saturday night live" star bill hader is leaving the show. >> you seem very troubled by the lower dosages of sleep medication. you're revealing your problems with your eating and revealing your problems -- by the way, is your next book going to be about meds? about prescription medications? >> i think i'll take a break from the books. but no. >> that dosage aint cutting for you? >> i'll be honest. i think it's a good idea. i think it's been a little strong, the 10 milligram ambien.
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i don't take it ever again. i had a bad experience. >> tell us about your experience. >> no, really. it's in the book. it's in the book. i had like an eating thing. all right, let's just move on, can we? really? it would be good. chief white house correspondent mike allen has a look at the playbook. so much going on in your neck of the woods. irs scandal politico reporting on specifically what the irs asked for from some of the tea party groups to draw out this application process. what were some of those things, mike? >> this is amazing, willie. we saw some of the letters that the irs wrote to conservative groups, tea party groups that were applying for tax exempt status and two frustration by these groups. one, they went months and months and, in some cases, years not getting any response from the irs and this is something that the inspector general criticized the management for in that response. and then when they did hear from the irs, look at what they were
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asking for. printouts of their facebook postings and other social media postings by the group, transcripts of their interviews what were they saying on the radio? what books were they reading and discussing? what tea party figures in the community did they know? it was like a big fantasy of big government gone wild. these very, very extensive questions and intrusive questions the groups were asked. "usa today" is reporting today in a banner headline story that the same time, groups that had the word progressive or progress in the name were almost getting rubber stamped, were being proof approved in nine months at the time the tea party groups were spending years in limbo. >> based on the reporting you've done and read in the reports is it clear to you liberal groups
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were not subjected to the same scrutiny that liberal groups were? >> you can't totally tell that from the report but that is the evidence so far. here is the biggest thing that is going to trouble this white house, this president, this administration and that is as you know and it's been on the show for months, years, conservative groups were saying that this was going on and the media didn't pay a lot of attention to them. the administration didn't pay a lot of attention to them. the administration could have known that this was going on, could have looked into it earlier. as we saw robert gibbs saying at the top could of, should of, acted fasten and hurt the administration as congress digs in. we are told the congress plans on months for pulling on the string on the irs. >> it's oo good da good day to politico. mike, thanks. coming up, charlie rangel
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will join our conversation. and the editor of national, joe conason and ron fournier will also join us. we will show you what is inside an alleged spy kit. a blond wig among other things when "morning joe" comes right back. we went out and asked people a simple question: how old is the oldest person you've known? we gave people a sticker and had them show us. we learned a lot of us have known someone who's lived well into their 90s. and that's a great thing. but even though we're living longer,
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sports report. spurs beat the warriors up 3-2 in their series and knicks stink! >> how did carmelo do? >> that is your sport stories. u.s. diplomat has been detained by russian officials accused of being a spy. the man identified as ryan christopher fogle was accused of recruiting a russian man to work for the cia. he was caught with a spy tool kit that includes wigs and compass and large sum of cash and a letter reportedly find on the 29-year-old diplomat offering his. fogle was relieved to the u.s.
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embassy in moscow. russia's foreign ministry ordered him to leave that country. both the cia and state department have not commented on the incident. let's go to david ignatius on this. david, strange that a kroichlt office cia officer, if he is that would be carrying around a written type contract that he is recruiting a russian agent. what do you make of all of this? >> it does look like bad trade craft as they say in the spy business. we have all read so many spy novels that when a real spy case comes along like this our immediate reaction is, gee, that is just like in a novel but this is a real case. you can see from the anguish on that young man's face how difficult it was to be arrested. there are some odd aspect of this. first, he was caught in front of a very well-known area where foreigners live in moscow. not the place for a clandestine
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meeting and how odd to carry the details of a letter advising secret communications, procedures, create a google account, from that google account send this discrete google account and why would you carry that our person? some of this gear. a compass? in 2013 you need compass to get around moscow? an odd set of facts. you never know. i must say when they display this spy paraphernalia after the arrest how much is rest and the russians can put anything in that kit they want but this is a day when i'm sure cia officers are kind of going, my gosh, did we need this? no. >> pretty strange even for vladimir putin to so publicly shame like this and do it out in the open. >> especially at a time when the u.s. is trying, i almost want to say desperately, to get russian help in resolving a war in syria which is needed and we will just
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hope that this isn't derailed by what happened. >> if this guy is a cia agent we have to get more funding for the cia for the wig department. >> he could have been on way to a party in times square looking at that kit. >> david ignatius, thank you for joining us. mika's must read opinion pages are up next. you're watching "morning joe," brewed by starbucks. ♪ with the new staples rewards program
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[ static warbles ] the wright brothers became the first in flight. [ goodall ] i think the most amazing thing is how like us these chimpanzees are. [ laughing ] [ woman ] can you hear me? and you hear your voice? oh, it's exciting! [ man ] touchdown confirmed. we're safe on mars. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ hi. [ baby fussing ] ♪ ♪ mr. president, when did you find out about the irs targeting conservative groups? >> i first learned about it from
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the same news reports that i think most people learned about this. i think it was on friday. >> what was that day i found out that incredibly arm of the government may be using powerful arm for government? let's see. i can vie that nobody in the administration thought to mention this issue to the president. a slight oversight. never happened before. >> i heard on the news about this story that fast and furious. >> it happened one other time in the fast and furious. >> it was something we found out about a long with all of you. >> and that other time when air force one did an unannounced statue of liberty flyover for the sweet photo op. >> he found out about the news reports yesterday on the road. >> yesterday the department of justice seized two months of money records from a.p. reporters. i wouldn't be surprised if president obama learned that osama bin laden was killed when he saw himself announcing it on television! looks like a pretty day in
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washington at 47 past the hour. turn to the must read opinion pages. dana millbank writes this in "the washington post." he calls obama the uninterested president. president passer-by needs urgently to become a participant in his presidency. late monday came breath-taking news of an assault on the first amendment by his administration. he responded as though he were just some bloke on a bar stool getting his information from the evening news. nixon was a control freak. obama seems to be the opposite. he wants no control over the actions of his administration. as the president distances himself from the actions of independent figures within his administration, he is creating a power vacuum in lower officials behave as anything goes. certainly a president can't know what everybody in his administration is up to but he can take responsibility. he can fire people. >> steve rattner -- i'm sorry,
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go ahead. >> he relieved a statement, joe, i'm wondering if we should be hearing from him personally and forcefully more often than jay carney. >> yeah. i mean, that is a great question. steve rattner, there is a disconnect. it seems almost reaganesque during iran contra, where ronald reagan his staff members would always say the president doesn't know. we also heard from time to time with george w. bush and other presidents. hard to believe that with barack obama this is a guy that is just sort of floating through his eight years in the white house and learning about all of this information from news accounts on cable news. >> yes. look. it's an unfortunate set of events that does portray and dana millbank takes it to the next degree. i think if you go through the specifics of each one, they all
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have their own characteristics. it seems to me when i read the report like a keystone cops kind of thing where nobody seemed to know what they were doing. by the way, dana millbank talks about firing people there was really nobody to fire at the irs. the commissioner, who had been a bush piee, left several months ago and acting person in place and general counsel and everybody else there is a career person. it is not a completely independent agency but set up to have some measure of independence. then, of course, you have the a.p. situation where there was, in effect, a delegation to the u.s. attorney to the district of colu columbia. they wanted to create a special prosecutorial activity. >> kelly, on the a.p. story, back to the a.p. story, once again, what do you think the perhaps fever will be among the press corps to get the answer to
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the question of when, in light of the fact it was a national security issue we have been told, the attorney general mentions lives were put at risk. again, the question of when was the president informed? did he really find out about this as jay carney just indicated from news reports last week? i mean, this was a massive, massive, we referred earlier, this electronic blanket put on the associated press to gather information. are we going to find out, do you think, relatively soon? is the white house going to tell us how the president found out, when he found out, and if it wasn't until friday, why was it that late? >> one of the reasons, mike, that we're focused on this is because even though steve laid out very clear lines where the administration is supposed to have some separation from the justice department, from the irs, the public perception is why isn't there more concern or outrage on some of these
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matters? now, jay carney said it would have been completely inappropriate for the president to pick up the phone and call eric holder and ask for more information about this because of an ongoing investigation. and jay carney emphasized over and over the pressure to have unfettered access to pursue the news. one of the things that is getting many of my colleagues kind of upset about this is among the phone lines that records were taken for was a phone in the house gallery, the united states house of representatives public gallery where we go to work every day, where a.p. reporters work but also other news organizations could have used those phones. they are in a public space shared by reporters. there is a lot of frustration among reporters if their ability to get news, which is for the public benefit, is interfered with. also knowing there are rules that need to be followed, there are laws involved in this. i'm not a lawyer. but as we talked about, the a.p., other news organization, "the new york times," across
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administrations they work with whoever is in pour to deal with the national security issues. on the irs one thing was infuriating even to democrats jay carney kept referring to if -- if the irs, if the irs. at a point when they had already apologized for some of these actions priority to the report coming out, but there was almost a sense of we are not really sure if this happened. after a point where there was enough evidence there will be inappropriate screening being done, as well as a much bigger report that came out yesterday. so there's a sense of too much distance on some issues where the president might be able to vent some outrage more forcefully even though there are lines that do separate the white house from these specific agencies. >> kelly o'donnell, thank you so much. on tomorrow's show we are going to have legendary singer and songwriter paul anka joining us
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a martha stewart who has a book out and former attorney general alberto gonzales, along with chuck todd and david axelrod. "morning joe" will be back. every time you wear it. neutrogena® healthy skin liquid makeup. 98% of women saw improvement in their skin's natural texture, tone or clarity. it's healthier for your skin than wearing no makeup at all. does your makeup do that? healthy skin liquid makeup. from neutrogena® cosmetics. picasso painted one of his master works at 56. doris taerbaum finished her first marathon at 50. not everyone peaks in their twenties. throughout their lives.
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coming up next, chris
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matthews weighs in on the set on the irs scandal and then tina brown will join us. keep it here on "morning joe." a bike that honored those who serve our country. and geico gave me that opportunity. now naturally, we wanted it to be powerful, innovative and we built this bike as a tribute to those who are serving, those who have served and their families. and i think we nailed it. geico. proudly serving the military for over 75 years. so you can capture your receipts, ink for all business purchases. and manage them online with jot, the latest app from ink. so you can spend less time doing paperwork. and more time doing paperwork.
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we're not simply saluting history... we're making it. ♪ the president is a strong defender of the first amendment. and a firm believer in the need for the press to be unfettered, to be unfettered in his pursuit of investigative journalism and the press to be unfettered in its investigative journalism and pursue unfettered investigative
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journalism. the president supports the ability of journalists in an unfettered way to pursue investigative journalism. >> welcome to this special edition of "sesame street." a scandal edition where the word of the day is unfettered! as you take a live look at the capitol. >> can you spell that? >> i can't but i know how you use it in a sentence. you connect it to investigative journalism. this hasn't been jay carney's best week or two, unfortunately, for jay. a lot of frustration, note just among reporters and not just among republicans, but as we heard last hour, mika, even among democrats, especially among democrats because the president, obviously, is the de facto leader of their party and how clumsy this white house has been dealing with these three scandals that have hit, if you want to call them scandals,
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whatever you call them. it depends on where you sit politically and what your definition is, but three these major stories haven't been handled well. >> can you imagine the incoming at the white house right now? mike barnicle and steve rattner still bus. joining us from washington the host "hardball" chris matthews. also editorial director of the national journal group ron fourniey and with us editor of "the daily beast" tina brown. we have a great crew to talk about these scandals. do we start with the irs again? i think is the question. >> i want to start quickly before we jump in, i want to start quickly with today's lead editorial in "the new york times" and go to chris matthews and then we will set the stories up. chris, as you always know and people in washington knows, it's not always exactly what you did. it's how you respond to do it. the white house has been dragging their feet this
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morning. this morning, "the new york times" talks about the associated press story and the white house's, quote, chilling zeal for investigating leaks and they say this at the end, which is just fascinating. these tactics will not scare us off or the a.p. if you're inside the white house, chris, and you have been inside the white house, "the new york times" is saying this to you and democratic administration, you will not intimidate us, you will not scare us off, how do you turn this story around and how do you let "the new york times" and your own base know that this isn't going to happen again and you get it? you made terrible mistakes? >> well, you know, this whole -- of course, when thesea firestorm like this happens everyone goes to their battle stations and go to their attitudes and i do it as well as you do and everyone else does. you have a certain set of attitude about this
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administration and you may think they are the bad guys if you're on the hard right and may have mixed views about it like most of us do. you go to what you think is wrong from the beginning. i will say what is wrong with this white house is the lack of a chief of staff in the white house and chief operating officer for the president. a clear line of authority from the top down where every agency knows they will do something right or screw up and if they screw up they will pay for it and it's coming from the chof of staff like jim baker in the white house who is watching out for the president and able to fire people on his own without the president's okay. in other words, a real tough, tough ram rod for this admission. but everybody knows this administration isn't run like that. >> chris, these guys don't survive. bill -- why don't they have strong chiefs of staff in there that can -- >> you and i are on the same
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page. you know what the problem is. it's called span of control. this president's is responsible for the federal government. he is responsible even if he didn't do anything wrong. he keeps acting like the only problem he's got, the only real problem he has viscerally is the talking points in ben ghazi and he only acts personally. he is in charge of the entire executive branch. he is the boss. he needs the coo, someone who will carry out that authority every minute of the day through the weekend. he doesn't want to do that. he doesn't want to be chief executive because he doesn't want to have a chief operating officer. it's the way he has run the white house from the beginning personally and it's a real problem and now he is getting blamed for things he knows nothing about because he knows nothing about it because he doesn't want to know about them and he doesn't want to run the united states government. the problem is why isn't he really angry about what happened to the irs? look at him yesterday at that press conference. the only -- the other day the only time he got angry when it was on ben ghazi and the talking points because that gets to him
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and his friends. and the problem is he is chief executive and it comes down to that and every one of these problems. by the way, the story will haunt the democratic party and everybody who believes in positive government is this irs story. this is perfect. this is going to help save mitch mcconnell and help tom corbett in pennsylvania and anyone who is on that anti-government right that always says the government screws up in the end and out to get you has their case next november. >> looking at the first part of what you said, chris matthews yesterday, at the book signing with chris christie the talk turned to politics and we asked him about the handling of these scandals. take a listen. >> you have to talk about it, about this internally and externally. the president is you will responsible for everything that happens on his watch but they don't know everything all the time. the fir thing you need to do is
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get the people most important rn around you and say how did this happen and get as much information you can and do that quickly and the next thing you need to do is not send surrogates out and not send other people out to speak. you need to get out there yourself and say to people you're serving, if this happened in new jersey i would come out and say, listen, here is what i know. here is what i'm going to do. here is how i propose to fix it. >> ron fournier sounds like chris christie is channeling chris matthews. >> yeah. >> a lot of democrats have been frustrated with this administration and we will just use the phrase domestically leading from behind on the health care. i remember the health care debate time and time again asking different congressmen and congresswoman.
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they say when youing if out the president's health care plan is, will you tell it to me? because they won't even tell us. chris matthews is exactly right. this seems to be their mode of operation. this president's mode of operation domestically and overseas leading from behind where he is blissfully unaware of all of this turbulence that is going on around him. >> look. in fairness, there are times when it's smart to lead from behind and in fairness some issues the president should not know about but chris is absolutely right. when the you know what hits the fan, the president is responsible. i was very surprised at the news conference when the president was saying the irs is an independent agency and time and time again, jay carney saying the irs is an independent agency. guess what? it's not. it reports up through the treasury department. yesterday, the personal finally responded to the irs in a very strong way to the i.g. report and he said i'm directing the secretary of the treasury to have every recommendation the i.g.'s report carried out which,
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by the way, let's find out why they weren't carried out months ago. how can you direct the treasury department to carry out these recommendations and then say that the irs is an independent agency? it doesn't make sense and it's a contradiction and the oldest ploy you do when you're a white house under siege which is ward off responsibility. >> in second terms you get into trouble and you start promoting deputies to principal positions and we know how it works. you need people around you, a strong government led by a strong chief of staff you can crack the whip and why it's important to voters. when you go in the voting booth you only get one vote. you pick romney or obama. when you pick obama, you want to know the steering wheel that you just turned to the left a little bit, you want that to matter. that means you want that president you voted for to run things. the only power you have as a
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citizen. pick the person you want to run things and then they run them. for anybody to run around in washington and say we don't run the irs or we can't control the justice department and i'm r recusing myself. they say the steering wheel doesn't control the car any more. the person says i want the person i voted for to be in charge. the only power i have and you're telling me i don't have it? because you don't have it. and that is going to really bug people, especially people that care about government doing a good job. >> yeah. steve rattner and then tina brown. here is what ron is asked in the "national journal." president obama and his team are violating almost every principle of crisis management. while the west wing is run by smart and dedicated public servants, their crisis communications instincts are horrible. they disassemble and make things
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worse. event of the past week will likely lead to one or more long running scandals which is unfortunate including me who wants obama to succeed. he needs to set aside his justified contempt for the republicans in the media and acknowledge his team's failings and brace his administration for an onslaught. he may need a new team. >> i think the points that both chris made and ron made in that piece are very apt and ones that the administration should take to heart. the question whether they have the resources to deal with all of this. let's parse three three things for one second. in my mind the worse in a way is ben ghazi because of the talking points and the fact that the administration said one thing in october and november about how those talking points were draft and then the story changed and they haven't really fessed up and poor jay carney is out there every day trying to do a tap dance and that is when the buck really does i think stop with them. i think when you get to the a.p.
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and the irs in fairness it gets more complicated. the case of the a.p. they set up a special unit to do this investigation led by the d.c. u.s. attorney for the d.c. holder recused himself. the decisions were made by the deputy attorney general. i think you can have a discussion how involved the president should be on that. >> but steve, let knee pl jek here. hold on. if you're running your business, which you are, and you find out that this is going on underneath you and you had no idea about it, would you be as passive as the president has been? like chris matthews said, an irs scandal tears at the very fabric of your philosophical belief in a large aggressive, progressive, active government. this plays into the hands of your political enemies more than anything else. >> it does. >> i think what chris is saying, not just a democratic party but the american people want to see
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the president engaged and is passive. chris wouldn't do that in his business and i wouldn't do that in my business but the guy running the country doing it in his business. >> i want to separate what he didn't know and maybe even didn't -- shouldn't have known from what he should have done once you knew. in the case of the irs it's not clear what the commissioner of the irs knew and acting commissioner and so on let's alone it government past there. once he found out about it, i agree a strange sense of specify i said about this thing and wait for this report and that report and decide what to do. >> there is what you know and what you decide you don't want to know and we have seen business people do this. we have seen politicians do this. we have seen the nod and the wink. so we don't know what the president knew but it certainly is disturbing that he didn't come out immediately and said this is a shock to me, i had no
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idea that this was going on under my watch. and, damn it, i'm going to get to the bottom of it right now and make sure it never happens again. his passiveness suggests to me it may not be that clear-cut. >> i think chris matthews is absolutely right about the circle of obama. it seems to me he has far too many adoring people around him all the time and in a sense, these kind of -- any administration scandals happen in a sense there is a consolation of the weakness in the management style and all focus at a certain moment and what you're seeing. you're seeing the specifity we had with obama and aloofness. a piece talks about how he is constantly dropped the ball on guantanamo and made efforts and not really efforts and gets exercise now because of the hunger strikes and comes back. unfortunately this means he has
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little to do. exactly that. same thing with foreign policy. we saw that the secretaries of state have very little roo many to move and not much authority that they are empowered with. obama doesn't want to give strong people the ability to run, fire, deal with stuff. now we're seeing what happens. >> mike barnicle? chris, play back the last eight minutes on what you've said and what ron was said, what has been said here. it seems off of just these last eight minutes, we have a president of the united states who has, indeed, had a couple of pretty strong chiefs of staff. ron emanuel and bill daly and had also at the same time a president of the united states who seemingly surrounded by people who when it comes to the irs going after conservative groups but don't tell the president this, when the justice department is throwing an electronic eavesdropping blanket over 100 associated press
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reporters in a national security issue, but don't tell the president about this. so is it not, are you not at the point where we have a president of the united states who may have strong people around him at one point in time but doesn't want that? he doesn't want it? it's a reflection on him. >> you got to interview billy daily. from what i understand and ronemmanuel took those jobs never asked for the power of hire and fire which is essential of being a chief of staff. if the president will not delegate to the coo to run the government for him then he has to run it hims himself. needs a coo to do it for him every day. when i worked for tip o'neill, every morning the first thing he asked us went like a vacuum cleaner and all great bosses do this. what do you know? what do you hear? anything special? anything i ought to know? i want to run this place and i need to know.
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the cooos have to deliver that information. the idea the president's chief counsel and legal office learned two weeks ago and carney slipped that out the other day saying we did know what was going on about at the irs and knew about the i.g. report but somebody didn't tell the president this. by the way, he does run the it's irs. he runs the treasury department. he runs the united states government and he is accountable for and it this is not sensical. >> i would love chris matthews to tell lbj or fdr you're not in charged of the irs and you're not in charge of treasury and you're not in charge of justice department. lbj, fdr, progressives that believed in a strong powerful government that could make things better for the american people, they would have laughed. tip o'neill would have laughed if you told him you don't have oversight over these agencies.
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it's not believable, is it? >> no. i'll tell you out there in the country now people have to pay their taxes and every day if they get paid in cash or a check they see where the money went. it went to the federal government a lot of it for taxes. now everybody who reads the papers which i don't know what percent of the country who know what is going on through this program are saying wait a minute the irs are the guys that target my political point of view. they target the tea party and the right and i get that. they are on the other side so i'm paying taxes to the other side. this is the worst thing you can do about government is undermine the basic trust although it could be tough and tax rates tough on you they are ruffoughl fair and not out to screw a group. anybody in the country can say i don't trust these guys. they were targeting us. the gun people can say it and this is worth five or ten points out there ready to lose an election next year and this is mitch mcconnell's ticket to
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ride. he will not have serious opponent and tom corbin. who handed them that ticket? that has to be grabbed and pointed out to and the president has to make sure they all get fired to the top who knew about this and he's got to do it or else it isn't going to get done and next year the same irs people that have been involved in this are going to be there doing our tax returns next year. they will be the winners. they will be the ones that got away with this stuff. they used their little political attitudes and put in the work and get to keep their jobs. they win, the taxpayer loses. this is really serious business this irs thing and it's not going be forgotten for decades. >> i think you're exactly right. ron, let's go to you. we end by talking again about a
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story we discussed yesterday. ronald raik in the middle of iran contra. again, a second-term president where his best lieutenants had moved on by that time. nancy reagan had strauss come in and say you got to shake things up. top democrat in washington, democratic operative and they got howard baker in there and baker got in and cleaned things up. you have with barack obama a man who is so isolated. it is the story that we hear whether you're reading "the new york times" op-ed pages or the "the wall street journal" op-ed pages. he is so isolated and he remains this what did churchill say of a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a riddle, something along those lines. this keeps coming back. people say why does the press keep talking about this man being so isolated? it's because it's having a great
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impact on his presidency and his ability to move forward over the next three and a half years. >> yeah, he talked about it friday ironically, as these stories were developing he gave an eloquent speech about the lack of trust people have with the government. he understands what is going on out there. he talked about how the republicans often demonize hem and obstructionist which to a great extent is true. i thought this quote was remarkable. i would really like to do some governing. well, do it. do some governing. be in front of these stories and it's easy to lead from behind and smart sometimes to maybe lead from behind when things are going well but when things are going bad and your irs is targeting your enemies and your attorney general and your department of justice is going after the associated press and putting a crimp on the first amendment maybe it's time. when your people are lying about ben ghazi which they did early on and continually shifting that
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story, maybe it's time then to do some govening. >> chris matthews, we will see you this evening on "hardball" at 5:00 and 7:00 and ron fournier, thank you. tina, you will stay here. hold that thought. nbc news chief white house correspondent chuck todd who had plenty of questions for jay carney at yesterday's briefing will join us. you're watching "morning joe," brewed by starbucks.
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♪ 26 past the hour. live look at washington. joining us now from washington, nbc news chief white house correspondent and political director and host of "the daily rundown" chuck todd and on capitol hill a member of the house and ways and means committee, congressman charlie
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rangel. good to have you on the show this morning. chuck, we want to show an exchange you are with jay carney yesterday on the president's issues on these positions. take a listen. >> you keep talking about the then senator obama supported a certain piece of legislation that is a fact. as president he killed that piece of legislation in october of 2009. >> the president's position on this is what it was as a senator. the -- the fact is i cannot then appropriately apply his support for that measure. >> if he supported this piece of legislation we wouldn't be having this conversation today. >> in 2007. >> i'm asking you what happened to it in 2009 when he was es president of the united states. >> the history is more complicated than you present. >> the kks were democrats were . who cares about what twec2007? we know what he said on the campaign trail. had he a chance to support this and make this bill happen. why did he change his position?
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>> it hasn't, chuck. >> yes, it has. >> do you want to give us a little context? >> the back story there was a journalist shield law, a federal journalist shield law that a lot of journalistic organizations were fighting for essentially to protect journalists from having a real sources. a lot of states have these laws. just about every state has it. i think one doesn't. and in 2007, 2008 on the campaign trail, candidate obama, senator obama was supportive of it. in an associated press interview in 2008 given a speech and asked about it. he said the best way to deal this wthis is create a judicial review process so if is there a national security breach, you let a third party essentially, the third branch of government the judiciary branch determine this is such a breach that national security is put into danger and let a third party make that decision and don't leave it in the hands of the executive branch nor leave it in the hands of the journalists if
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it's that. if that law had been in place we shouldn't be in the position with the a.p. in 2009 the house passed this law and senate trying to get it done and white house objected to it because they didn't like part of it having to do with national security and they wanted to water it down completely. that went nowhere. they did strike a compromise and then, of course, it died in the senate. it didn't move forward. the point is creating a judicial process to deal with these national security sources. if we had had that, then there wouldn't be subpoena to the a.p. this could would be something that a judge would decide, okay, the executive branch is making this claim that somehow this is going to endanger american lives and that sort of confidential sort and has been to be exposed. have you away to deal with these sticky issues without
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threatening whistle-blowers. >> let's go to congressman rangel. charlie, what are you hoping to learn in the irs hearings that are coming up later this week? >> what did he know, when did he know it? i think confident that the president is angry as hell about this as he should be. the irs is no place for partisanship. democrat or republican. in order for people to have confidence, they have to move swiftly and identify what went wrong and we don't know but we will find out on friday. >> there you go. >> what is the first question you're going to ask? >> we got to find out who is in charge. i hope by friday we will know more information than we know now. once the president displays how he outrageous he thinks this is, i hope before the day is over,
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we will have the information that we need. i just can't pass by what chuck said in terms of this would not have happened if the senate had passed the bill. the senate didn't pass a bill and we have this constant fight between journalism and their right under the constitution for free speech and also national security. and so when a reporter says what should have happened, that is one side of it. but on the question of national security, that's another side we have to hear from. we have to protect the free press but we have to protect the lives of american citizens. you didn't ask that question but thank you for letting me get my views on it. >> chuck todd? >> well, no. the key is who should determine, you know, an executive branch could use the excuse of national security to try to prevent all sorts of reporting at any given time. put it into a third party which
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is the legislation the house passed. congressman rangel, it's what you guys did pass, a judicial review process. >> with this supreme court, you can imagine the confidence i have that their judgment is going to be stronger than the president of the united states. on the question of national security, i think we ought to give any president, republican or democrat, leeway but we should protect the reporters. now, if reporters and the industry has worked out something with the administration where we call in a third party, i don't have any more confidence in a third party or i have more confidence in the president not abusing the right to say that our national security is there. i know that all reporters, especially you, would not want the administration to stop something if, indeed the security of america was there. the president now claims and the attorney general claims that this is serious. let's find out how serious this
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is and continue to try to work out something that doesn't affect freedom of speech, doesn't affect the reporters right to know what is going on in the administration. but let's not talk about what could have happened. this is what we are dealing with now and the administration has to come forward and share more than just national security. >> congressman, thank you. but. >> thank you. >> is there any way that, tina brown, with the congressman saying what is reminiscent of a defense of it? >> what i find interesting is three at once. people fail to keep them all in their minds. what is really bad i think there is also a perception not a lot of governing going on. the notion that all of these scandals happening mean there is going to be even less governing going on. mike made an interesting point on "the daily beast," people forget the scandals going on
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with the end of the clinton administration but nonetheless panetta, clinton and newt gingrich balanced the budget. i think what is well nothing is going to be done, nothing. >> steve? >> i think tina is making an important point it sometimes get lost in this we have a lot of issues on the table and a lot of important issues on the table and, yet, we are not moving forward. so i'd ask congressman rangel what is your level of optimist that anything is getting through this congress when you have every house committee investigating one or another of these things? >> i don't think you have to go far to find out why this congress is not functioning. and we are a part of government and when people make up their mind, they got to stop the government from functioning. you don't need a majority. all you need is a handful of people that don't care about their country but care more about the ideology. it would seem to me if the
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american people use their right to vote and everyone got as outraged they should be they should get the house of representatives and senate to move but when you find a country that is indifferent about the congress and who the congress person is we find what we have now a stalemate that this country really doesn't deserve. people should be angry and do something about it and they can do something about it. >> chuck, congressman rangel was just very strenuous in his outlining of the importance of national security vis-a-vis the associated press in that story and he was rightly strenuous in his defense of the national security argument. yet, it begs the question if it was such a matter of national security as congressman rangel just pointed out to us, why wasn't the president informed until last friday? does the white house have an explanation for that? >> the white house explanation is simple. they can't be involved in a justice department. the more they are involved in
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the justice department -- of all the different if -- look. if there issan appearance they calling the shots at the justice department is a problem. ask richard nixon. that was a problem. >> let's walk through this. >> you're talking about national security. hold on a second, chuck. if you're talking about national security and if you're the president of the united states and something has happened that is enraged allies and that as the attorney general now is saying, put the lives of americans at risk, it's not like the president of the united states is going to walk away from it and go play back gammon. the president had to know. if it is as serious as eric holder said he had to to have known this investigation was going on. it would be negligent for him to know that american lives were at risk. what is going on here. >> they know about the investigation but they didn't know about the associated press
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aspect of the decision to go and subpoena those records. that was the question. >> that he is not asking where this story is coming from when knows where it's coming from? >> i think this is one of the problems right now that the white house has to be dealing with which is this idea that they are watching the presidency, that it's a little passiveness, whether it's irs, learned it from the press. it's the associated press. learned about it from a.p. we have gotten no briefing on this. yes, there is -- you know, they would argue, the white house is arguing, hey, if we knew about this stuff beforehand it would be like why does the white house know so much what is going at the irs and so, i mean, i get their defense. i get their argument in this. i think collectively it paints a picture of a presidency that is watching the government, rather than being the active
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participator sometimes. >> if that's the case, mika, the point that mike barnicle is bringing up is a very accurate point. it's hard to believe. i understand the legal argument behind all of this but it just is not credible to suggest that the president of the united states knows of a national security issue that his attorney general says puts american lives at risk and he just walks away from it and has absolutely no knowledge of it until it breaks a couple of days ago. come on. let's put ourselves in the shoes of the president of the united states there. i find that very, very hard to believe. >> i don't think anyone truly believes that the president has given us a sufficient answer for america, much less the press. i think this is just the beginning and the whole idea of comparing this with nixon, i really think is just -- it doesn't make much sense. but the president has to come
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forward and share why he did not alert the press they were gng to do this. he has to tell the americans, including me, what was the national security question? you just can't raise the flag and expect to salute it every time without any reason and the same thing plapplies to the irs. we have to give him an opportunity to root out any wrong doing whether it's just negligence or criminal. but, for right now, to say that the president should be doubted, no, he has to come forward and give more of an answer than he has done. he just can't use national defense as a sherled or use it as a spare to protect the white house and we are not saying that happened! >> congressman charlie rangel, thank you very much. tina brown, thank you as well. chuck, see you at 9:00 on "the daily rundown." up next, jim connors will join us. do spies walk around with wigs
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and notes to flip up russian contact with the cia? those are the allegations by officials in skmoscow? andrea mitchell has the details when we come back. changing the world is exhausting business. with the innovating and the transforming and the revolutionizing. it's enough to make you forget that you're flying five hundred miles an hour on a chair that just became a bed. you see, we're doing some changing of our own. ah, we can talk about it later. we're putting the wonder back into air travel, one innovation at a time. the new american is arriving. for sein a whole new way. for seeing what cash is coming in and going out... so you can understand every angle of your cash flow- last week, this month, and even next year.
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ 43 past the hour.
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disguises and cash and instructions on how to recruit an informant is what the russians say they discovered on an american diplomat after he was detained in moscow. nbc news chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell hat details. >> reporter: it was the lead story on russia's state-owned cable news. a u.s. embassy employee supposedly caught spying in moscow. showing being stripped of his disguise. allegedly trying to recruit a russian for the cia. in a scene right out of the cold war, 29-year-old ryan fogle, a low-level diplomat, allegedly caught with a spy's tool kit, wigs, sunglasses, maps, money. even a letter offering his russian contact up to $1 million a year. quote, to discuss your experience, expertise and cooperation. and instructions for opening a gmail account and address to write. the cia and state department weren't talking. the russians released fogle to the u.s. embassy. he'll probably be sent home. on twitter, the u.s. ambassador
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michael mcfall had no comment. >> a global terrorist network. >> reporter: at washington's popular spy museum, a former cia spy says it happens all the time. >> even the disguise material, which people have sort of charteled about, i've used disguise. so even though it may look sort of corny or sixth grade to people, it it can work. >> reporter: the russians call the incident provocative. but u.s. officials don't think it will set back efforts to improve relationed blamed by many for the boston bombing and the situation in syria. secretary of state kerry was meeting with his russian counterpart in sweden, presumably not swapping spy stories. >> up next hall of fame tennis champion jimmy connors is telling all in his memoir and it's not sitting well with all. he'll explain when we come back on "morning joe." the only thing we'd ever grown together
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♪ ♪ all right. 48 past the hour. here with us now a man with a record 109 men's tennis singles titles tennis legends jimmy connors. "the outsider" is his new memoir. brian shactman just showed up and walked here talking to his ipad. >> i did. >> that was a little cute and face timing with his kids. great to have you on. >> nice to be with you. thank you. >> this is pretty revealing your memoir. very personal. why did you decide to write it, first of all? >> i waited until i was 60 so a waited a long time. >> are you really? >> i am and happy to be. >> good. but i had an opportunity a lot of years to write a book and
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finally felt that i could sit and look at -- look at what i've done in the past and then where i had been and things that have happened to me. through a different perspective. >> yes. looking back through the lens of a little bit of maturity, let's put it that way. >> well. >> i just finished writing a book and it's amazing a differe perspective. >> look back through the lens of a little maturity. it's amazing what you learn about yourself. did you kind of have any epiphani epiphanies? >> i had almost had a small case of amnesia. i had so much going on at the present, to have to go back and revisit a lot of things was a little difficult, but very interesting. >> let's talk about the title, jimmy, the outsider. you're from east st. louis, illinois. this is a really, no pun intended, white shoe sport that you're crashing into.
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clubs, clay courts, memberships in clubs. how big was the chip on your shoulder when you began your career? >> certainly was one there. there's no doubt. the outsider came from really the start of my playing tennis days. back in st. louis. and my mom taught me how to play. we had to go to st. louis to find a game and if i wanted to play somebody besides my mother and my grandmother, so it was almost treading on other people's property to get in and try to become a better player, so it kind of all started, maybe it was a lot more than i thought or a lot less and i made more out of it but the feeling i had, i was never part of a group. never got in with a lot of the other kids because i wasn't from the other side and always had to make that trip back and forth. then as i got older and turned
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pro i was antiestablishment and just kind of danced to my own beat and i was always better on my own. i felt that taking full responsibility for the good and the bad and accepting that and trying to go forward was what i was better at. >> what was the initial reaction the first time you dropped a couple of f bombs? >> well -- you know, i don't think it was, what everybody was looking for. it certainly was a different time back then. tennis was a country club sport and the way it was going and for me to break in, playing in front of 2500 seat stadiums. that wasn't acceptable to me. i wanted, felt like there was more there. the game was handed over to me by so many great players that had really put forth what was necessary to get the game to where it was. they pick ed up their own court and traveled from city to city and laid it down to play in
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front of tennis and to spread what it was all about. when i came in, open tennis was there. pros and amateurs alike. money started coming into the game. television started to become a part of it and i liked that. and there was more to it than what was handed to me. >> quickly, tennis today is really about the majors and it seems more niche. now, you look back at the age of 60 when you were winning and you were national, international news, your relationship with chris evert, what changes? >> tennis is all about the majors now. about how many grand slams you win. for me in my day, it was all about going out there and putting forth that effort every time. every match for me was the finals of a u.s. open or wimbledon. that probably wore me out, too but that was my attitude. tennis has become big, big business now. when we first started, things were changing. television was coming in.
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sponsorship was coming in. bigger crowds were coming in, so the whole feeling of what we had to offer, we needed to get those fans, the real sports fans in, so we were really playing in a wild west show. >> the book is "the outsider." you can read an excerpt on our blog. thank you very much for being on the show with us. >> thank you. >> you're watching "morning joe," brewed by starbucks. i'm here with natani. she's trying to avoid spending a fortune on lunches out. yes, i am. you know, the average lunch out is about 6 bucks per meal? i know. let me show you something. walmart has a lot of great lunch options like this one, it's less than $3.00. that's great. yeah, if you swap out fast food lunches just 3 times per week, you can save over $525 a year. i could really use that! you could buy me something. or me something. i knew you'd say that.
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up next, david axelrod addresses what's been a very rough u few days for the white house. also, the national memos, "morning joe" coming right back. have a gooood nig. here youou go. you, , too.
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it would be different if the spoken had thought about this on saturday or sunday. losing patience with this, which is what i do with my 9-year-old and quite frankly announced there will be a commission made up of a former, two former commissioners, one appointed by democrat, one by republican, that said look, we're going to deal with the irs is going to deal with how do deal with 501c dl 4s based on what the administration is or isn't. that's always going to be the kis. >> and welcome back to "morning joe." it is 8:00 on the east coast, 5:00 a.m. on the west coast. you're taking a live look at the upper east side of manhattan. we're expectinging rain today. what a shock. cold and rainy.
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in spring. we have mike barnacle back with us and steve rattner. also, david axelrod also set at university of chicago ins tuesday of politics. a lot to cover this morning. why don't you get right into the news. >> we'll start with eric holder, who is ordering a criminal investigation into the irs' targets of conservative groups. this after an internal government watchdog blamed ineffective management for the scandal. a report for the treasury's inspector general concluded that the cincinnati's office of the irs used inappropriate criteria to singling out tea party groups, adding there was insufficient oversight by management. the report also revealed that some applications for status were delaying some for as long as three years. a "usa today" analysis found
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that -- last night, president obama said in a statement, the reports findings where intolerable and inexcusable. promising to follow through on the inspector general's recommendations, joe. that is the headline on the irs part of this day. >> that is the headline. david axelrod, when is the first you heard of the irs, if you want to call it a scandal, whatever you want to call it. did you first learn of this last friday like the rest of us or had you and other people in the administration heard about it before then? >> no, not in the administration anymore. i heard about it when you heard about it and i was in the white house during the years or, i think much of the period in question. and i must say, i don't think pick a irs person of a line up. i had never met any of them when i was there. i thought the thing was
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shocking. it was idiotic and i hope they come down hard on the folks who are responsible. >> so, what are you going to be saying to those at the university of chicago, of politics, to students, to others, when they're talking about looking at this irs scandal and what an administration should or should not do? >> it's an interesting case study, right, because if you look at the inspector general's case study report, apparently, some folks down in the bureaucracy, we have a large government, took it upon themselves to shorthand these applications for tax exempt status. that was idiotic, also dangerous. one piece of evidence that nobody political was involved in was that if anybody political was involved in this, they would say, are you kidding me? are you nuts? what are you doing? what are you doing. >> stupid.
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>> when you're president of the united states, i'm a faithful w watcher of your show. i've listened to the discussion over the last couple of days and part of being president, there's so much underneath you that you can't know. i lived through the bp oil leak and i remember the first weeks of that. robert, whose quote was at the beginning of the segment, remembers this well, too, because a lot of the discussions going on then are the same as know. why didn't the president act more quickly? why didn't he know about the scandal in the mms? has the white house handled this properly and so on and there was a big frenzy in washington. they called it obama's katrina. they said it was going to end his administration. and you go through these things, all because of stuff that is impossible to know. if you're president or working in the white house and yet, you're responsible for it and it's a difficult situation. >> but david, it's possible to know at this point that we've
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got two, three, really serious stories that are plaguing the white house right now. you bring up the oil leak and what we feel we saw as we watched this story unfold is a delayed reaction on the part of the white house and a delayed reaction on the part of the president, who finally got down there, catching up with what needed to be done even at the least, visually, to help people understand that he is connected with it. what do you make of the president's response? has it been enough? people have been very critical about it. >> the problem in stories like this is i suspect the president, just from what i read in the newspapers, he didn't have the report. the irs officials spoke out on friday and kind of took everybody by surprise. that was the first the president knew f of it. ipg they just got the report it looked like yesterday and so, yes, i think it's good to express outrage. i agree with robert. i think the language could have been nor vivid. it should have come out on sad. but at the end of the day, the
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one of the things that is true about the president is he is caution and often wants to see what he's commenting on before he comments on it. no one understood the scope of this, where you know, where the responsibility belonged and so, he was probably waiting to see and was that from the standpoint of stage craft, was that the right thing to do, maybe not, but at the end of the day, it seems to me that he has expressed outrage and he needs to know and the administration needs to now take firm action to deal with what happened and to make sure it doesn't happen again. >> david, two part question here. the attorney general of the united states has indicated with regard to the ap's story, that one of the reasons that reporters had this electronic blanket thrown over them from the associated press is that american lives were at risk. that's what the attorney general said. it was a matter of vital national security. we know it was enough of
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importance that the associated press had agreed the story for a few days in difference to the administration's question. you know, we have a president of the united states who with all that on the table already, lives at risk, national security, the ap bumping the story for a few days to appease the administration's concerns, the president indicating he did not know about this until last friday. so the first question is how does that happen? >> well -- >> and the second part of the question, which would go into your answer hopefully is why is this, this seemingly at least visually lack of urgency involved in the administration's response to these issues. >> well, on the ap's story, first of all, you and i both old news men. exactly. i don't think that needed to be said. we both have experience. we both have strong feelings about this and every journalist does. i'm not comfortable with these kinds of things. i used to do investigative
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reporting. one thing joe read in the editorial from "the new york times," i don't think the goal is to chill the news industry from doing its work. i remember when i got kicked out of, or when the mayor of chicago tried to kick me out of city hall because i wrote stories she didn't like and my newspaper put me on the front page for the next six weeks. i suspect both these news organizations are going to be more aggressive. but let's review how this all happened. last summer, there was a big brouhaha because there was an accusation that the administration was leaking classified information -- >> hold on, david, i'm going to stop you. hold on. so, it's not "the new york times" that is going to be chilled and "the new york times" says it's not going to be the a p p that's going to be chilled, but as the times says here, but they could reveal sources on other stories and frighten confidential contacts as one person after another in the press have said since this story
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broke, the idea is not to intimidate "the new york times," the idea is to intimidate sources and scare off whistleblowers. >> joe, last summer, i appeared with you and you challenged me with the same tone, actually, on these leaks and said, when is the president going to send a strong signal to people that leaking classified information won't be tolerated. when is is he going to make people accountable for these leaks. that's what senator mccain and others said. the attorney general impanelled these two u.s. attorneys. they've apparently interviewed 550 people and went to court and got a subpoena to do what they did. in order to do what you and others said should be done. do i agree with that? >> i've heard the president's defenders try to say this and i congratulate you guys for going into a room and calling each other for coming up with this
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bogus argument, but never did i suggest that ap reporters have all their records seized, their home phone numbers seized, so please save that for somebody else that's going to buy into that. don't shift this to me. answer me question. will confidential sources inside the federal government be intimidated because of what this administration according to the "new york times" has been doing from the very beginning? >> i obviously i think it does have an impact on whistleblow s whistleblowers, but joe, i'm not trying to be accusatory about it. what i'm pointing out though is an investigation was started because many people, you included, said there shouldn't be these leaks. it is a perilous thing to leak national security stuff, information, and so the attorney general began that process. in answer to mike's question, if the president then said was reaching into this investigation and said no, don't look at these
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phone records, don't do other things, imagine the scandal that would have created. once that process has started, it's very hard to stop it. i've been a journalist. i've done the investigative reporting. i have great, great concerns about this. i agree with that part of it, but once you start those investigations, this is you know, this is -- >> there is a middle ground and you certainly would agree with me there's a middle ground. you can investigate leaks that put the lives of americans in jeopardy without having overbroad as the associated press ceo and president said. this was so overly broad. it violated all of the justice department guidelines. there is a middle ground here. you don't have to get a sledgehammer to the first amendment to selectively and carefully follow justice department guidelines to
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investigate these leaks that could put the lives of americans at risk. >> i agree. they've interviewed 550 people in this investigation, then went to the court. i think there are real questions about what the justice department, whether this was the right approach and i agree with you on this, but the fact is is, that everyone in the summer was clambering for investigations to do what you say you're concerned about, which is chilling -- >> david, again, you are misstating what i said in the summer. >> let me ask you a question, joe -- >> you're also suggesting that it's an all or nothing proposition. we either investigate leaks or we ignore leaks on national security issues. or we throw such a wide, overbroad dragnet on the associated press that the news organization, that we violate first amendment rights.
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that's a false choice, david. >> i think that is, you're right on the issue of the broadness of this and it concerns me as i've said several times, but when you say is it going to chill news sources, anytime you prosecute someone for leaking, it's going to chill news sources. and that investigation was launched to find the people who leaked. because there was a sense that these were sensitive national security issues that put lives at risk, so once you start that process, you're going to have an element of that. i agree that these freedom of the press issues, first amendment issues, are real and we ought to have a discussion about that, but in answer to mike's question, it would have been totally inappropriate for the president to either know what subpoenas were being issued. remember, when you and i talked in july, your question was is the president leaking. you asked me that.
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is the white house leaking. if it were leaking, would it be appropriate for the president to say don't issue that subpoena? absolutely not. that would have been a much larger scandal and much larger concern than we have right now, so these are complicated issues. >> they're complicated, mika, they're made less complicated when you have the justice department actually following justice department guidelines for these sort of investigations. the top constitutional lawyers we've spoken with say they didn't even follow their own guidelines. >> and if that is -- and joe, if that is true, that ought to be addressed. and i'd be the first guy to say that. i love newspapers. i love journalism. i grew up in it. i want unfettered reporting, so i want all of that and i think that should be follow ed throug,
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but t also true that there was a cry to find these folks and yes, that's going to have a chill effect. that's what you and others asked for is to stop leaking and to send a strong signal. >> there is a way to do it. >> so, you agree that -- but you agree that sources should be discouraged when it comes to national security issues. >> i agree that there's a balancing act when you talk about the first amendment. of course we agree. i've been saying this for well over a decade since 2005 when "the washington post" revealed extraordinarily sensitive information that causeded great damage to our allies in the war against terror who took significant political risks to protect the united states' interests and it was splashed out on the front pages of "the washington post" in 2005 and caused great damage to our
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allies and sent a very strong message across the world. if you help the united states of america, you're going to be revealed on the front pages of newspapers and it's going to damage your government. i said at the time, that needs to be investigated. it's very interesting though, there are a lot of people on the left that didn't say that. they thought it was the most noble and trustworthy thing. we've got a lot of people onset and mika, let's pass it around and ask david, hold on, david, you're going to have other people asking you questions. answer their questions if you can. >> i'm going to hand this off to steve hrattner. if this was george w. bush, dot, dot, dot, finish the sentence. how would the response be? >> i think it would be equally intense on the part of the press. now that we've uncovered two of the three, i want to move on to the third issue, that of benghazi. a specific question as this
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relates to being a former "new york times" reporter. so, you have the president's spokesman last november saying only two words were changed in that he has talking points. we know there was a lot more going on with those talking points. all the stuff. and yet, the white house has not yet corrected the record so to speak, so, if you were still there, what would you be telling the white house to do about these different stories, so to speak? >> i think they would benefit from getting all these e-mails out in public because as we saw last friday, one version of one of the e-mails that was described to the white house was edited in ways that had implications that weren't true and so, you know, i think they would benefit from that. i do think that you know, the issue is ultimately did the
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administration shine a bright light on what happened at benghazi and i think the answer to that is yes. the state department's report that ambassador pickering and mullen turned in was a scathing report and the issue is what, so, nobody was trying to hide the fact that there are a lot of mistakes made and i can tell you on the al-qaeda issue, when i was sitting in a campaign, none of us said if it's al-qaeda, the president never said al-qaeda is extinguished. if we had had a debate about terrorism, i think the romney people would have been very upset about that because they wanted the race to be about the economy. i don't think there was an attempt at cover up was handled as well as it could have been. absolutely not. >> joe? >> david, i wonder whether you think there's a way for the president to get control of the narrative here on all these issues, which are pretty complex for the public to understand. how you handle irs applications of tax exempt groups.
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how you handle national security investigations that involve the press. how you handled benghazi when the hill is trying to politicize it. how do you get the narrative back without precipitous actions. i agree that he needs to wait and see all the facts, but how do you go in and explain to people what is really happening here when much of the discourse is heavily partisan? >> i think you have to deal with them one by one and with specific actions. i set benghazi aside. i know we may have some disagreements on this set about it. i really view the ben gghazi fle up right now as throwing a high, hard one at hillary clinton to try and dissuade her from running for president. i really think that's a lot of what's motivating on the hill right now. >> i agree. >> paul said so. >> the other two are serious issues and need to be dealt with, but they need to be dealt
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with intelligently and sometimes, what you learn in the whituse isou have to endure some of endure some of frenzy that goes on around these issues. and then make the right decisions and come out the other side. that's what happened on that oil leak which everyone said was going to be the end of barack obama and it turned out to be a positive story. but you have to act and you have to take steps. we have to examine certainly the irs people need to be disciplined. one of the difficulties there, joe, is that it seems like the people who did this were civil servants deep in the bowls of the irs and so how you discipline them has some complexities to it, but people need to be held accountable for that. new guidelines have to be promulgated for how these are processed and there needs to be a bright leicht shined on that. there ought to be a debate on how these searches should be around national security cases. i agree with joe on that.
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so these are big issues and we ought to discuss them, but in the short-term, it's going to be uncomfortable for the white house and having been a veteran of those things, i understand that. i don't envy my colleagues sitting in that building right now. >> thank you very much. joe, stay with us. >> i bet david's glad he woke up early in chicago. >> yes, thank you very much. i asked steve rattner what would the reaction be if the phone records were seized under the bush administration? we're going to ask joe gonzalez. i'm the next american success story. working for a company where over seventy-five percent of store management started as hourly associates. there's opportunity here. i can use walmart's education benefits to get a degree, maybe work in it,
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26 past the hour. joining us now, former attorney general from the bush administration. al ber toe gonzalez. good to have you on the show, sir. >> good morning. >> let's start with this ap scandal if i could and can you i guess maybe try and speak in defense of the attorney general here in terms of what the context might be that we are miss i missing because a lot of reporters are up in arms about what's happened and it doesn't seem there's anything less than a lot of criticism for what the administration has done. >> first of all, this is something that's fairly unusual in terms of the department of
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justice precisely because of the reaction we're seeing, the department would have had to anticipate this kind of ferocious reaction and so, they took it knowing that this is something that had to be done in connection with an investigation, i presume. again, there's a lot i don't know about the ongoing criminal investigation. after all, what we're talking about here is the investigation of a crime. someone leaked classified information. it is the job of the department of justice to prosecute crimes. which is what we have here. the interest under the first amendment for the press to maximize the free flow of information, conflicts with the interest of the criminal justice system to prosecute wrongdoers and when that happens, accommodations have to be made. now, in this case, the department of justice made a decision about the best way to move forward while accommodating the rights of the press and first amendment. whether or not that was properly
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struck remains to be seen. >> but does it seem like they anticipated a ferocious reaction from what you're seeing in terms of the white house response? >> well, i would think so because again, this is fairly unusual, which gets me to another point in terms of quha what did the white house know. it is improper in my judgment for the white house to direct actions in connection with an investigation. it is not improper for the president or the chief of staff to know what the department's about to do, but typically, when there's a great deal of suspicion that in fact there's going to be a very ferocious reaction to what the department's going to do, the president, chief of staff, there are many con vversations that occur throughout the day, again, it would surprise me that the white house would not have received some kind of heads-up, hey, we're about to do this. there's going to be a negative
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reaction. again, just simply providing information to the white house, not the white house directing the department how to conduct this investigation. that would be i a proper response. >> brian shactman. >> what i don't understand and we haven't heard enough about, basically, they failed internally to find a leak source on their own side of it, correct? why have we heard more transparency about how they handled that investigation and got to the desperate point where they had to do this? >> again, we don't know what efforts were undertaken to find the leaker from that side. from government records. >> but don't you think we should know that if they're going to do this? >> and we may know that eventually. again, the department of justice issueded certain protocals before this kind of action could be taken. it's got to be approved at the highest level. there's got to be in alternative means to get this information. i'm presuming all means are
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exhausted to find out who this is and there has to be a compelling government interest at stake and from all indications, what's been reported from the interview from general holder yesterday, this is one of the most serious leaks he's ever seen, so i'm assuming that criteria has been stied. as to whether or not the protocall has been followed to the letter, which should be in connection with investigation of reporters' notes, of whether or not the protocall has been strictly followed. we still need to find more answers. >> mr. gonzalez, let's lean in your experience a little to put some context on this ap story. at some point during the course of this story being played out, the associated press was approached by the government and
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asked to withhold the story. does the department of justice make that request or make that request in concert with talking to the national security council, then therefore internally in the white house? how does that work? >> i can only go based upon my experience when i was in the white house. we had a situation involving "the new york times" having information regarding the terrorist surveillance program, the capturing of certain electronic communications and "the new york times" had information about that program. in that particular case, lawyers from the department of justice and individuals from the white house sat down with "the new york times" and pressed upon the importance of not running the story for national security purposes. in connection with that story, it was a combination of the department of justice and the white house. i can't speak to in terms of what would have happened in this particular case.
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>> all right. joe? >> mr. gonzalez, did you ever have occasion when your attorney general to conduct this kind of surveillance or any kind of surveillance to a news organization in a national security case? is. >> there was at least one occasion in which we were engaged in a very serious leak investigation and we had to make some very difficult choices about whether or not to move forward going after reporters in order to try to figure out where the source of the leak is. and sometimes, the department finds ourselves in a situation where they have exhausted all means and they have to make a hard determination as to whether or not they want to subpoena the reporter, if they want to subpoena the reporter's notes. we ultimately decided not to move forward. >> former attorney general,
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alberto gonzales, thank you very much for being on the show. still ahead, best-selling author dan brown leans on dante's epic poem. we'll ask him about that coming up on "morning joe." with the spark miles card from capital one, bjorn earns unlimited rewards for his small business. take these bags to room 12 please. [ garth ] bjorn's small business earns double miles on every purchase every day. produce delivery. [ bjorn ] just put it on my spark card. [ garth ] why settle for less? ahh, oh! [ garth ] great businesses deserve unlimited rewards. here's your wake up call. [ male announcer ] get the spark business card from capital one and earn unlimited rewards. choose double miles or 2% cash back on every purchase every day. what's in your wallet? [ crows ] now where's the snooze button? [ crows ] cheryl burke is cha-cha-ing in depend silhouette briefs for charity, to prove that with soft fabric and waistband, the best protection looks, fits, and feels just like underwear.
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live look at washington, d.c. you can see the washington monument is framed in skaf oling and this is helmet cam. i'm getting a little seasick. is this at the top? at the top of the washington monument as they are putting the final pieces. they've got it completely covered. >> putting an addition on that? >> it's earthquake damage and a couple of updates, lighting. it's going to be beautiful. cant imagine what it costs. business before the bell now with cnbc's michelle caruso-cabrera and michelle, the world's biggest retailer is taking some serious steps after the tragedy in bangladesh, specifically with walmart. >> more than 1100 people dead at that factory that was producing clothing for a number of retailers all over the world. "the new york times" this morning has gotten documents given to them, found in the
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wreckage, that walmart had received jeans from this factory one year ago. the question is, what role should private industry play in making sure when they get suppliers, when they're working with suppliers, that the factories are up so snuff? it's been complicated in bangladesh because a lot of the companies we know of didn't necessarily contract necessarily with this factory. they've run out of capacity in china and india and they subcontract out to bangladesh and so the chain is confusing, but now, more and more retailers around the world are saying we are going to get more committed to making sure these buildings are up to snuff. cheap labor doesn't necessarily have to mean dead labor. clearly, everybody agrees this is a problem. the bangladesh government has been nonexistent on this for a long time. >> i know that at least for some change, i know it's hard to regulate this, but you have to be mindful of what you're doing
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business with. i'm not sure what the answer is. >> it becomes a reputational issue, right? if it's so horrific and customers stop buying your product, you have a severe business problem. so it's definitely part of the business plan to figure this out. >> yeah, with child labor issues. thank you very much. up next, his works have been translated in over 50 languages. dan brown is at it again with a thrilling new book drawing on life and death in dante's inferno. keep it right here on "morning joe." my mother made the best toffee in the world.
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here with us now, author of international best sellers including angels and demons, dan
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brown, he's out with his late e tliter, inferno and you know who else is back? professor proebt langdon. >> he's the indiana jones of theology. >> oh, good lord. i like it a lot. he's the globe trotting symbolic known for his tweed jacket, mickey mouse watch and pendant for getting into international incidents. >> a lot of people ask me about why do you write about a geeky professor. i feel like readers are smart people. they want to read about people who are like them, about people who use their intellects to get out of problems rather than guns and jiu-jitsu. that's why i write about a guy like that. >> one of the interests in the aspects of your books, like some series of books, you know, they tend to be cookie cutterish, these are not cookie cutter stories. these are all different.
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the tapestry of the story, the context, the details, they're all different. so, how do you do this? >> that's a defense mechanism to keep myself interested in every book. you know, these books the take a long time to write. so i always choose subject matter that keeps me fascinated. in this case, it's dante, the divine comedy, the inferno and some real cutting edge science. >> how long did it take you to write this book? >> this one was about three years. >> i'm feeling better. >> tell us about inferno. yeah, mike, really, you shouldn't. how long have you been working on it? >> let's move on. >> it's just not even -- inferno. it's set in florence. >> it is. it's very much a robert langdon thriller. code, cipher, symbols, art. this this book, the epic poem, the divine comedy, serves at a catalyst to inspire a kind of a twisted villain to do some scary
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things. >> i just remember the big, fat volume from high school. what about it that makes it come p peling? >> halfway through this novel, i was saying what was i thinking tackling the divine comedy and inferno. the amazing thing about inferno, 700 years old, but it has, it really inspired our modern vision of hell and the bible talks about hell kind of in ethereal terms. greek mythology a little more specifically, but it wasn't until dante that we had this structured, codified vision that was terrifying of hell and sin became or hell rather become the deterrent to sin and a lot of people got pretty afraid of sinning and went to church. >> what drew you to these topics. >> you know, i love art and architecture. i had written about the fine arts, but never about the real arts, so, inferno drew me that
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that it was new and literary work. but it also inspired -- there was in art work inspired by the divine comedy than any other book other than the bible. >> thevil villain is a transhumanist? >> it's a quickly growing philosophy that deals with the science and ethics of using things like genetic engineers to enhance our physiology. to make us a stronger species. >> oh. >> makes sense. some people consider it -- >> i think he's past that. >> all right. so, i'm just going to end on this because it reminds me of you, barn cal when you're writing. every day, you finish your day
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by playing piano. >> i do. >> actually, what do you do? >> off of that question, in terms of playing the piano, writing early in the morning, how has your success measurably changed your life other than financial lof course? >> surprisingly, not many ways. i still get up every morning and place a blank page or computer screen. my characters don't care how many copies i've sold. i have some privacy concerns, but other than that, life feels pretty much the same. been very fortunate. >> the book is "inferno" and you can read an excerpt on our blog. thank you. congratulations. keep it right here on "morning joe." be right back. i'm here at walmart with chenoa,
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mr. president, when did you find out about the irs targeting conservative groups? >> from the same news reports that i think most people learned about this. i think it was on friday. >> what was that day i found out that the incredibly powerful arm of the government may be usinging -- let's see.
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that was well -- nobody in the administration thought to mention this issue to the president. is a slight oversight. never happened before. >> i heard on the news about this story that fast and furious. >> well, it happened one other time with the fast and furious. >> it was something we found out about along with all of you. >> and that other time when air force one did a lower manhattan statue of liberty fly over. >> he found out about the news reports yesterday on the road. >> and yesterday's news that the department of justice had seized two months of phone records from ap reporters. i wouldn't be surprised if the president learned osama bin laden learned he had been killed when he saw himself on television. >> funny stuff. today marks the final day of flying high with autism conference. it's being held in my hometown of pensacola, florida. the group has been serving families along the gulf coast for ten years.
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get more information at auti one other interesting note, there was a special election held in florida for the house and a guy that nobody expected to win, mike hill, an old supporter of mine who heads the tea party in northwest florida, trounced just about the entire field and yet all of these republicans, establishment republicans who were supposed to win and mike hill ended up winning and i'll tell you what, the news that is breaking and i think we all understand this, this is going to have an impact on races in local state, national level. people like clay aiken in north carolina up for re-election next year. i don't think you can overestimate the impact of what's going on in washington with the scandals and targets of
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tea party groups. >> good point. >> there you go. >> and mike hill, good luck on your irs audit. >> on tomorrow's show, legendary singer song writer joins us, also, martha stewart will be here on the set. up next, what, if anything, did we learn today? i'm so glad you called. thank you.
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time to talk about what we learned today. reading the play book this morning, charlie hurts op-ed in the "washington times." the headline, where nobody gets fired and everybody eats lunch. what does somebody have to do to get fired around here? >> yep. good question. good question. mika, what did you learn today? >> i'm going to take a sharp turn and thank katie couric for doing a full hour on eating disorders. i think it's an issue that affects so many women. young women and women of all ages. we did a full hour on it. and i want to thank her for take ing the time to do that. mike? >> i did. i learned that alberto gonzales has some pretty critical insight into the chain of information and command from doj to the white house on a situation like the ap story. >> what did you learn today? >> today, we learned that at
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least some republicans, including you and alberto gonzales, believe there should be some limits on surveillance organizations. i thought that was very reassuring. >> well, sorry. i think again, i have always been concerned about surveillance on news organizations and this is, it's a false choice that we're being given right now. brian shactman? >> i was going to say alberto gonzales, they almost went there, but didn't. >> there you go. >> yeah, right. >> all right, if it's way too early, what time is it? >> time for "morning joe," but now time for the daily rundown with chuck todd. thanks, everyone. is it a drip, drip, drip? the justice department's secret probe of a press leak is just one controversy facing the attorney general as he gets set to testify on capitol hill today as president obama's team tries to steady the ship, washington
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